“…don’t you feel like a ninny, Jenny? Don’t it make you feel ashamed of yourself? Don’t it make you feel small, y’all?”
Randy Travis. George Jones. Kenny Chesney. All three of ’em have recorded this Bobby Braddock song. And lemme tell ya’, it’s AWESOME. I mean, it’s COUNTRY. Like…twangy country. None of this bro-country bullshit. REAL country. If you haven’t heard it you should just check it out. For real, you really should. YouTube that bad boy! It’s possible there could be a quiz…
Whether you actually just went and listened to the song or not, it’s pretty clear that the lyrics address the petty moments in our lives. Those times when we…make asses of ourselves. You know what I’m talking about. Take for example, a certain ESPN reporter who had her car towed recently.
Small isn’t ALWAY bad though, right? Good things DO come in small packages! Jewelry. Car keys. Sylvester Stallone.
Unfortunately, we tend to focus on “small” as a negative. Your bank account is “small”. Your weight loss was “small”. Your boobs are “small”. Small tends to get a bad rap.
The thing is, we’ve GOTTA go small before we can go big. I mean, big doesn’t start out as big. BIG GROWS FROM SMALL.
BIG. GROWS. FROM. SMALL.
What the crap does that even mean?
(I really, really, REALLY wanna make an inappropriate comment right now but I’m gonna try to restrain myself.)
Well, in terms of weight loss, it means that each teensy, tinsy healthy choice you make will eventually add up. All those weeks of one pound weight losses will eventually become a fifty pound total.
We, of course, want instant gratification. I mean, if I make a decision to “get healthy” then I better see some weight loss in like…TWO HOURS or I’m gonna lose my motivation. Like, if I drink the amount of water I’m SUPPOSED to drink then I need my clothes to be falling off of me ASAP or else I get discouraged. And if I actually go the gym? Holy balls, I better be nominated for Ms. Olympia by the end of the day or I’m not gonna go back.
Fortunately for me, I’m an organizer (and NOT in the fitness/health industry because lemme tell you, I would SUCK at that!) and in the organizing world, teensy, tinsy, itty freakin’ bitty little actions also make a huge impact. In fact, the smaller you start, the more success you’re gonna have AND you’re gonna achieve that success faster and keep it longer than trying to go big or go home.
Tiny bites. Baby steps. Inches instead of miles.
So what does this mean for YOU? Like, for real, WHAT DOES IT MEAN YOU?
It means that instead of gearing yourself up to gut your entire house in a weekend, you start with one drawer in your dresser. ONE. DRAWER. And you celebrate your ass off when that drawer is done because the drawer WAS THE WHOLE PROJECT AND YOU FINISHED!!! Instead of starting the trek up that Mount Everest-sized pile of paperwork, you only worry about a half- inch at a time. When that half inch is finished? You kick your feet up because, sweetheart, you met your goal! After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you didn’t make this mess in the ten minutes you wish it would take to clean it up. It means being okay with touching things more than once. (You know that whole touch it once rule is complete bullshit, right?)
What the crap do I mean, touch stuff more than once? Well, let’s take a look at your paperwork. We all know there are about thirty different categories you’re gonna have to sort that paperwork into, right? And it’s gonna take forever. And trying to decide if you should keep something and then trying to figure out which category it belongs in? Well, that’s just too much. You’re asking for overwhelm. And good grief, it’s all over the effin’ house!! You’re pretty much begging for a nervous breakdown.
Try this instead, okay?
Step one? Get ALL the paperwork in one spot. Once you do that, YOU’RE DONE! You’ve met your goal! Go drink some wine and watch CMT!
Step two? (This can be right after step one if you’re feeling super motivated or it can be on a totally different day. Remember, baby steps. Set yourself up for success.) Grab a half inch of that paperwork and start making piles. TWO piles. Keep and Toss. Once you’re done with your half inch, WOOHOOO YOU’RE DONE FOR THE DAY!
Step three? Well, step three is repeating step two until you’ve gone through all of your paperwork because, you know what? It’s gonna be a heck of a lot easier to figure out how to sort the paperwork once you’ve already gotten rid of all the crap you don’t need.
Step 4? Sort a half inch of paperwork. Just a half inch. And by sort, I don’t mean bust out your label maker and start making permanent files. I mean you grab any container your paper will fit in and label it with painter’s tape and crayon. And those labels need to say things like “Paid Bills” and “Insurance Information”. Think broad terms. Think simple. (Click here for more about filing categories!) Oh, and don’t worry, once you’ve done all the work THEN you can make those cute files.
Baby steps. Teeny pieces. Stop before you’re miserable. Set yourself up for success.
So what are the benefits of going small? I mean, why not just suck it up and knock it all out at once, right?
Well, first of all, no one has the time to do that. The UNINTERRUPTED time. Someone is gonna need you to find a pencil for them. Or make them lunch. Or you’re gonna have to poop.
Secondly, nobody’s got the stamina or motivation for that. You can’t realistically think you can organize your whole house in a weekend. You’re gonna get tired. You’re gonna get frustrated.
Third? You can’t anticipate everything you’re gonna need in advance. Working in small chunks allows for and builds in time to regroup, call in reinforcements, research, go to The Container Store, buy alcohol…
Finally, going small means you only have to maintain small. Imagine that you go away for the weekend and a magical transformation happens while your’e gone. Your entire house gets organized! Every. Single. Space. Great, right? Um, not so much unless it comes with a permanent person to keep it that way because now you’ve gotta maintain the whole house immediately. This means keeping it organized AND training everyone else in the household to keep it organized. It’s kinda like magically waking up one day and being skinny. It sounds great in theory, right? Then you realize you’re gonna have to eat 900 calories a day and run 432 miles a week to maintain. Overwhelming, right? You could maybe get on board with running five miles a week at first. Same thing with organizing.
Small turns into big.
I promise you it works.